Wanted: Gadgets, gizmos and contraptions

| December 2005

The genius of pioneer inventors can confound us. Countless contraptions that revolutionized farming in the 19th and early 20th centuries have become contemporary curiosities, or even mysteries. Here are three sent in by readers. Do you know what they are?

November's mystery tools

A. Merlyn Irlbeck, Manning, Iowa, says that this piece was used with a rope sling for hauling loose hay on a hayrack; this was used as the "trip" to release the sling on one end after the hay was in the barn. Photo submitted by Darrel Heeren, Hastings, Neb.

B. Alan Marsh, Adrian, Minn., tags this as an English wheel, used to take wrinkles out of car fenders. Quite likely, this is one of a set. We also heard from O.K. Blackstone on this item. Photo submitted by the Cimarron Heritage Center Museum, Boise City, Okla.

C. Donald Walker, Buchanan Va., thinks this item is a hog "anti-rooter" used to nip the end of a hog's nose to prevent rooting. "This item sold for $33 per dozen in the 1925 Belknap hardware catalog," Donald reports. Photo submitted by Orin Olson, Cascade, Mont.


A Identified on patent 739,901 as "P.A. Myers hay tool," this piece was patented on Sept. 29, 1903, Phillip A. Myers, inventor.

B This piece, identified on the patent as a metal-working device used to remove dents on fenders, was patented on June 20, 1944, by Vernon E. Robbins. The patent drawing shows the device at work, with a piece of metal inserted between the "anvil" and the wheel.

HOW TO SEND "What-Is-It?" photos and/or identifications to Farm Collector: Photos of submitted items should be taken in a well-lighted area against a plain background if possible. Due to the volume of material we receive, we cannot guarantee when submitted material will be published. All photos will not be returned.

Items may be sent by:

Regular mail:Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609.


For digital photos, adjust "image size" to "full," "3:2" or "UXGA." Adjust "image quality" to "high" or "fine." For scanned photos, use "300 dpi;" send "jpeg."